Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heston Blumenthal's 36-hour Sous Vide Pork Belly

"It's going to revolutionise home cooking in ways that the microwave didn't even dream of doing."
Heston Blumenthal on Sous Vide cooking

So, this post kicks off my sous-vide (SV) recipe collection, starting with Heston Blumenthal's 36-hour sous vide pork belly. 

Pork Belly - A very cheap cut to be experimenting with SV.


Timing set

I set the temperature and timing on Friday night 9pm and woke up on Sunday morning 9am to become the proud owner of 2 slabs of Sous Vide Pork Belly.

Here's what I did:

Friday morning: Rubbed salt all over the meat and left in the fridge
Friday evening: Vacuum seal meat with marinade of apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, mirin. Place in SV for the next 36 hours
Sunday morning: Remove meat from SV, kept in fridge under heavy weight overnight
Monday evening: Remove from fridge, pan sear few minutes to get crispy skin and serve for dinner.

1. You don't need patience even if it's 36 hours. Just plonk your meat in and forget all about it.
2. SV is interesting as you can cook your food in a vacuum and chill or freeze it until the day of your party, and just finish off with a 5-minute pan-sear to serve. I've been told many fine dining restaurants do that.
3. The SV machine is low maintenance - a tub of water to fill, then throw and just wipe dry to clean.
4. No real culinary skills needed. Anyone who can set the temperature and timing can SV.

Check my other SV recipes and more pictures:
- Duck Breast, featured on Asian Food Channel Official FB Page
- Beef Cheeks, featured on AFC
- Pork Tenderloin, recipe by Chef Lee Bennett who trained under Gordon Ramsay


  1. The roast pork looks mouthwatering!

    Maybe if I get those off the shelf vacuum packed frozen pork and plonk them into a slow cooker ..

    Would love to have one of your gadgets but simply can't accomodate another gadget :(

    1. Hi Trish, you can just use a ziploc bag and push out as much air as you can before clicking the final zip lock. And yes, a heavy cast iron pot or slow cooker could work, just make sure to have an accurate thermometer to keep monitoring the temperature. If it gets below the desired temperature, add hot water. If it gets too hot, add ice. You can just regulate it manually. It can work if the SV is only for an hour or 2. There's no one you want to be standing next to it for a 36-hour recipe like this one!

  2. Is this exciting or what ? This weekend its sous vide machine hunting for me.

    1. Cool! Good time to be shopping given the Great Singapore Sale!

  3. Singapore has so many more options of coware to choose from. I bought my pressure cooker with inner stainless steel pot from takashimaya,mabsolutely love it, ut cant find any in the whole of malaysia. I am trying very hard to resist the singapore sale aaargh.

  4. That looks yummy! Don't think this gadget is available here. At the moment, Happy Call is the fad here.

    1. Yes, Happy Call is also the fad here. I wonder when Sous Vide will actually become a fad here, if ever.

  5. How difference is the taste between Sous Vide the pork belly and pan fried pork belly?

    1. SV meat tends to be softer and more moist than panfried. SV is low heat, long cooking time to slowly break down the tissues and muscles in the meat. Panfried is high heat, short cooking time. But both are just as delicious, yum yum!

  6. Hi there - just bought a sous vide and keen to try this recipe. Can you tell me what temperature you cooked the belly at? 62.3 as per the pic? Thanks!

    1. Hi there, congratulations on being a new SV owner! I went at 60C for 36 hours. All the best with all your SV ventures!

    2. Thanks! We cooked a couple of things in it over the Christmas break and have been really impressed so far- ropey old French bavette steaks were amazing...

      Ok, so 60 degrees for 36 seems such a crazy low temp for pork, but I know I just need to man-up, get over my preconceptions and put my faith in the Sous Vide! Will give it a go - thanks for the advice!

  7. Great post, the belly is salted and in the fridge as I write this.

    Can you give me more info on the marinade? I've got all the stuff but an idea on quantities would be good.

    Aiming to get it in the SV Friday night ready for Sunday.

    Love the blog, keep up the great work.


    1. Hi Andy, thanks, and great job to you too! Hmm...I'm kicking myself here for not providing the link to the original Heston recipe and I can't seem to find it now. The marinade quantities are not accurate, and you can't go too wrong. It's like making a salad dressing, I suppose. So sorry, I honestly cannot recall how much of each I use. Anyway, when such things happen, I usually put more of what I like, and taste the marinade before using it. All the best, and would you post a picture of your final product here - that would be so cool! Cheers.


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